When you love what you do for a job, it really doesn’t seem like work.
For Patrick Dietz, coaching volleyball for more than 15 years has become his passion, and that passion is heading to Clinton Hill.
Dietz was recently named the new head men’s volleyball coach at St. Joseph’s College, Brooklyn – the third head coach in the program’s eight-year history. Over the next few months, he will implement his philosophy into the Bears program, which is coming off a record-setting 10-10 season – the program’s first 10-win campaign and .500 season.
“It is an honor to join this team and athletics program as it grows during its renaissance,” said Dietz, who also serves as the assistant women’s volleyball coach at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights.
After playing volleyball at N.Y.C. Technical College, Downtown Brooklyn, Dietz broke into coaching as a volunteer assistant at the College of Mount St. Vincent, the Bronx, for the women’s team.
Karl France, who Dietz described as his mentor, was coaching the men’s and women’s Dolphins at the time and welcomed Dietz to the program.
Living in Far Rockaway – and attending St. Mary’s Star of Sea parish – the commute to the Bronx was challenging for Dietz, but his love of volleyball motivated him each day.
After just two seasons as a volunteer assistant, Dietz was hired as the head men’s coach at Mount St. Vincent after France accepted an assistant coaching job at New York University, Manhattan. But France was instrumental in helping Dietz establish his coaching philosophy.
“Your life is not just in the athletics building; you’re not stuck in that building,” Dietz said. “You have to be a part of the campus. Some of the best coaches in the world…everyone on campus knows them. You’re not just there for the athletes; you’re there for the campus. My primary goal is to make myself part of the family on campus.”
In his three seasons coaching the Dolphins, the men’s team received national rankings of 15, 13 and 11, respectively, in the American Volleyball Coaches Association coaches poll.
From there, Dietz had several others coaching stops, including stints at Bloomfield College, N.J.; his alma mater City Tech; Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y.; Salesian H.S., New Rochelle, N.Y.; and then back to Mount St. Vincent.
After taking a temporary break from coaching for about a year and a half, Dietz found himself right back on the sidelines coaching youth teams. Emily Mansur, the head women’s volleyball coach at Hofstra University, Hempstead, L.I., was looking for a coach for an 18U team based out of Club Ace Long Island, and Dietz fit the bill perfectly. He also then coached a 16U travel team, which further allowed him to continue his passion.
“The one thing I’ve never wavered on is my passion,” he said. “Everywhere I’ve gone, every kid says they love my passion. ‘The reason I love the guy is that I love his passion.’ If I can translate that passion into knowledge and can transfer some of that passion to them, then I know I did my job the right way.”
Right before the start of this fall season, Mansur recommended Dietz for the assistant women’s job at St. Francis under second-year head coach Abra Rummel. With Dietz’s added guidance, the team more than doubled its win total from the 2014 campaign.
As the St. Joe’s Bears men’s team enters the Skyline Conference for the 2016 spring season, Dietz is well prepared to lead the program given the scope of his volleyball coaching experiences. He’s especially looking forward to some good matchups with his old squad, Mount St. Vincent.
The season gets underway in early February, and the team will be focused on gaining a familiarity with Dietz until then. If the players adopt his mentality and passion, the Bears will be in great shape as the program takes the next step forward in its short history.
“I don’t coach for victories,” he said. “I coach to see if the guys and girls I coach love the sport and if they are going to keep getting better every year.
“I have had an incredibly fortunate coaching career in that players I’ve coached continue to play volleyball after having never been volleyball players in the first place. I can’t even thank God any more for what I’ve been granted.”
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.